Iced Espresso vs Iced Latte; Taste, Ingredients, Caffeine

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Over the years many of my friends have asked me how do iced espresso and iced latte differ in taste and preparation if they both have the same coffee base i.e. espresso.

I always tell them that they should try these drinks themselves as both are delicious and refreshing in their own way. However, there are some important distinctions between these two drinks that are worth highlighting.

Iced Espresso vs Iced Latte

Iced espresso and iced latte are both espresso-based cold beverages. Iced espresso is made by pouring espresso directly into an ice-filled glass. An iced latte, on the other hand,  is made with ¼ espresso and ¾ cold milk. Espresso is poured into a glass filled with ice and cold milk is added to it.

Key Takeaways:
  • Iced latte is the cold version of the traditional latte, which is made with a shot of espresso, and steamed milk.
  • An iced espresso is simply espresso served over ice cubes. It’s just like cooling down with an iced coffee.
  • An iced latte has a sweet creamy taste with a hint of coffee flavor. An iced espresso on the other hand has a strong robust taste of espresso.
  • Iced latte has many more calories as compared to an iced espresso.
  • Iced espresso is definitely much stronger than an iced latte.

In the rest of this article, I will compare both iced espresso and iced latte in terms of their ingredients, caffeine content, calories, taste, and more. So if you’re someone who would like to get to know all the major differences between the two beverages, then stick around and read this article till the end.

Iced Espresso vs Iced Latte; What’s the Difference?

Here’s a table that shows the differences between iced espresso and iced latte. Each of these differences are explained in a lot more detail in the following sections of this article.

Iced EspressoIced Latte
IngredientsEspresso & ice.Espresso, chilled milk & ice.
TasteStrong robust taste of espresso.Sweet creamy taste with a hint of coffee flavor.
Caffeine136mg from 2 shots of espresso.136mg from 2 shots of espresso.
CaloriesLow-calorie beverage.Moderate amount of calories because of the milk.
Which is stronger?Strong bold flavor.Mild, mellow flavor.

With so many coffee options around nowadays, it’s easy to get confused between them.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, although both iced espresso and iced latte have espresso as their base, two coffee drinks could not be more different in taste and preparation.

To understand the iced espresso vs iced latte differences better, let’s begin with the ingredients used and how they are prepared as that is what makes each drink completely different from the other.

What is an Iced Latte?

Iced latte is the cold version of the traditional latte, which is made with a shot of espresso, and steamed milk. In the iced version, you pour the shot of espresso in a cup filled with ice and add frothed milk on top. You can add a flavoring syrup too.

To make an iced latte you can use any kind of milk you want from whole to skim cow’s milk to almond, soy, or coconut milk. Or any kind of milk in between as long as you love it.

How To Make an Iced Latte

To make an iced latte, you’re going to need a few ingredients that you most likely already have at home. Moreover, it’s super easy to make.

What you’ll need:

  • Ice cubes
  • 2 Shots of freshly brewed espresso
  • 100ml milk
  • Sweetener of your choice (Optional)

As you can see from the ingredients listed above, there really isn’t that much that you need to make an awesome iced coffee at home. Let me guide you through this coffee recipe step-by-step:

Step 1: Fill a glass with as much ice as you prefer.

Step 2: Pour espresso into the ice-filled glass.

Step 3: Pour milk into the glass and give it a good stir.

That’s it! You’ve just made a delicious creamy iced latte ready to be enjoyed.

If you’ve ordered a hot latte from a coffee shop, then you know that hot, frothy milk is poured into a cup with espresso. 

But for an iced latte, there’s no need to froth your milk. The reason for this is that hot milk will melt your ice. So you want to use cold milk for iced lattes.

Using cold milk means that making iced lattes is much faster than making hot lattes since you don’t have to take the time to steam the milk.

Here’s an amazing video with easy-to-follow steps to make a perfect glass of iced latte.

What is an Iced Espresso?

An iced espresso is simply espresso served over ice cubes. It’s just like cooling down with an iced coffee, but it’s got a slightly more powerful kick. 

You may add milk or a sweetener if desired.

How To Make an Iced Espresso

The main skill you need for an iced espresso is to make the perfect shots of espresso. Whether you make your espresso with a high-end manual machine, superautomatic, or Moka pot, the important thing is making sure it is the best espresso you can make.

Here’s what you’ll need to make iced espresso:

  • 2 shots of espresso
  • Ice
  • Cold milk (Optional)
  • Sweetener (Optional)

Iced espresso recipe:

Step 1: Use your espresso machine and your favorite finely ground coffee to prepare your shots of espresso.

Step 2: Pour the shots of espresso into a glass filled with ice. You can use as many ice cubes as you like.

Step 3: Of course, you can drink the iced espresso as is, but if you’d like to cut the bitterness of your brew, add a liquid sweetener and cold milk to your liking. 

I highly recommend not pouring hot espresso shots directly over ice. Let your brewed espresso chill in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you pour it over ice.

You can also pour espresso in ice trays and freeze. The iced espresso cubes are perfect for adding to iced drinks. This will ensure your iced coffee drinks don’t become watery and diluted.

Iced Espresso vs Iced Latte: Taste

An iced latte has a sweet creamy taste with a hint of coffee flavor. Most of the boldness of espresso in an iced latte has been mellowed with the addition of cold milk and ice. An iced espresso on the other hand has a strong robust taste of espresso.

The coffee flavor in an iced latte is not as pronounced because of the large amount of cold milk used. It’s not as pronounced as iced espresso, but you can taste the coffee.

An iced latte is a perfect choice for those who like coffee but can’t handle the strong flavor and acidity. If you have a child then this can be great for them too, as you can simply use a decaf instant coffee. There will be little to no caffeine in it, plus they will drink a tall glass of milk.

Iced espresso on the other hand is for the hardcore caffeine enthusiasts as even with the addition of ice, an iced espresso retains all its bitterness and acidity. 

Iced Espresso vs Iced Latte: Caffeine

The amount of caffeine present in an iced espresso or an iced latte depends on the number of shots used to make that drink. Typically, both the beverages are made using two shots of espresso, so each beverage will have around 136mg of caffeine in them.

A shot of espresso, which is one ounce, contains 64 milligrams of caffeine. 

Let’s say you order at a cafe or make a standard iced latte or an iced espresso at home. 

If you decide to use one shot of espresso for your drink then you will get 68mg of caffeine. 

But if you prefer a stronger iced latte or an iced espresso and added more shots of espresso like a double or triple shot to the drink, then you’d have 

68 x 2 = 136mg of caffeine (2 shots of espresso)

68 x 3 = 204mg of caffeine (3 shots of espresso) 

So we can conclude that the addition of more espresso shots will bring up the caffeine content of either of the beverages.

Iced Espresso vs Iced Latte: Calories

Iced latte has many more calories as compared to an iced espresso. The presence of a large amount of milk in an iced latte makes it a high-calorie drink. Iced espresso, on the other hand, without the milk or any other additive, is a very low-calorie beverage.

The caloric value in both coffees depends on what you chose to add to your coffee, like flavoring syrups, the milk type, whether it’s full fat or skim milk and other additives. As a rule of thumb, iced espresso is lower in calories since the original recipe doesn’t contain any additives.

Iced Espresso vs Iced Latte: Which is healthier?

This one is tricky—namely because there’s nothing necessarily unhealthy about milk. Still, if calories and fat content are the primary concern, then an iced latte could be considered the less ‘healthy’ option between the two, given the quantity of milk involved. (But again, one beverage isn’t really healthier than the other.)

Iced Espresso vs Iced Latte: Which is stronger?

Iced espresso is definitely much stronger than an iced latte. Although both the drinks may have the same amount of espresso in them, an iced espresso will always taste much bolder and stronger than an iced latte.

Iced latte tastes more like sweet creamy milk with a very mild flavor of the coffee. This is mostly because an iced latte is just ¼ espresso and ¾ milk. This means that an iced latte is 75% cold milk and only 25% espresso, whereas an iced espresso is well, all espresso.

This is why an iced espresso tastes much much mellower than an iced espresso.

Iced Espresso vs Iced Latte: Which is sweeter?

Because of the high ratio of milk to espresso, an iced latte will taste sweeter than an iced espresso. 

It’s worth noting, however, that neither of these beverages are traditionally served sweetened—so the amount of sweetener you add is completely up to you.

That said, cold milk generally ends up giving some soft sweetness to an iced latte.


If you’re looking for a refreshing morning drink, then both the iced espresso and the iced latte are going to be great options. There’s not a “best” option here – it all comes down to personal preference. 

So, get out your espresso machine and brew up a batch using a good-quality coffee bean. Then get it nice and cold to make your favorite espresso-based coffee recipe. 

Honestly, it all depends on what you’re looking for and how you normally take your coffee. If you’re a fan of bolder flavors and usually drink your coffee black, go for the iced espresso. 

If you’re in the mood for something sweeter and usually have to add milk to your regular morning cup, then an iced latte is probably your best bet.

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Amit Gupta

Hi, my name is Amit Gupta, and I am the owner and contributor at Cafeish. My obsession with coffee started when I received my first French press as a gift almost ten years ago. Since then, my love of coffee – and the number of coffee gadgets I own – has grown considerably.

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